PLANS to build a new church hall near Thornbury have been approved.

South Gloucestershire Council has approved plans to transform a farmhouse site on the A38 Gloucester Road which has been labelled an "eyesore", "ugly" and "decaying". 

Applicants Mr and Mrs Smith submitted a planning application in April this year for the site which is located next to the BP petrol station. 

Proposals include demolishing six existing farm buildings, building a new church building, the extension of the existing farm house as well as building a new two-storey dwelling. 

It is understood the church building would be used by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church which already has a main site nearby on Hortham Lane in Almondsbury.

According to the application, nine families from the Thornbury area would use the hall for three religious meetings each week.

The hall would also include 12 parking spaces and cycle parking plus four EV charging points. 

Gazette Series: The entrance of the site is located off the A38 Gloucester Road near ThornburyThe entrance of the site is located off the A38 Gloucester Road near Thornbury (Image: The Smith family / Andrew Beard Planning)

According to the floor plan, the church building would have a main hall with by-folding doors, a kitchen and three toilets.

However, the plans were opposed by Olveston Parish Council on the grounds of parking and access. 

A parish council statement reads: "Taking the size of the proposed building we feel 14 spaces are not enough. 

"Access to and from A38 is a problem with insufficient planning at the entrance.

"OPC also believes this to be overdevelopment in the greenbelt."

Gazette Series: A site map showing the extended farmhouse (left), the new church building (middle) and the new two-storey house (right) A site map showing the extended farmhouse (left), the new church building (middle) and the new two-storey house (right) (Image: The Smith family / Andrew Beard Planning)

Gazette Series: An artist's impression of church hallAn artist's impression of church hall (Image: The Smith family / Andrew Beard Planning)

Meanwhile, a neighbour commenting on the application welcomed the plans. 

They said in a statement: "We have lived directly opposite the entrance to this site for 15 years and for all of this time this site has been an eyesore. 

"We have been waiting for someone to come along with a proposal such as this which makes such good use of this site.

"It is very long overdue that this derelict property with its decaying and ugly farm buildings that nobody is ever going to use again is redeveloped."

The Plymouth Brethren Church was established almost 200 years ago by Evangelical Protestants who were disillusioned with the traditional Anglican church.

It is believed the church has over 50,000 members worldwide - more than a third of them in the UK. 

A planning statement reads: "The applicants Mr & Mrs Smith purchased the plot in 2022 with the intention of developing the plot to provide a long term family home for themselves, a church hall for their local community and to upgrade and refurbish the existing house for property to create a family home to reside in permanently.

"South Gloucestershire are well aware of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and the need for smaller halls to serve sub groups of the congregation on the basis of providing local and reducing overall trips and shortening accessibility distances.

"The use of the site for a small church hall will meet a specific local need which will reduce overall trips, and deliver a valuable community use. 

"The PBCC community is well established in the area and the network of smaller halls to meeting local households delivers sustainable objectives."

The application was approved on November 24. 

You can view the application quoting P23/01218/F or see here -